If you haven't heard
yet, the Mint Julep and the Kentucky Derby are inextricably linked.
Well, since 1875, anyway. That's when their marriage at Churchill
Downs began, and since that year, the Mint Julep's popularity (and
one can go so far as to say celebrity) has no doubt benefited
from its close association with the fastest two minutes in sports.
Our close association with the Mint Julep began seven years ago when
the two of us would sip them on a warm spring night on the terrace
Brooklyn and Manhattan. One of our first terrace cocktail parties
of four friends and a dozen Mint Juleps among us. Needless to say the
party ended when everyone's speech was compromised.
one is enough.
Although much of our view of Brooklyn has been obscured
by overdevelopment (some of our view of Manhattan is threatened as
our love of the Mint Julep will never fade. It's one of our top five
cocktails, and its slightly sweet, minty bourbon zing will keep us
until our last gallop around the track. Pair them with lamb meatballs
with our special seasoning, add a dollop of tzatziki, and you are off!
The Mint Julep
2 ounces bourbon
1/4-1/2 oz. simple syrup
8 spearmint leaves
shaved or crushed ice
shaved or crushed ice
Muddle leaves gently in simple syrup
in a julep cup or similar glass. Add bourbon, then shaved ice all the
way up to the top. Stir. Garnish with a mint sprig. Toss in a straw,
if desired. Lamb Meatballs (with tzatziki)Meatballs
3/4 lb. ground lamb
1 medium egg, beaten
1/3 cup panko
1 stick real Ceylon cinnamon (you
can substitute cassia)
1/2 T coriander seeds
1 tsp. dried spearmint
2 tsp.-1 T dried chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 T olive oil, grape-seed oil, or
Grind cinnamon, spearmint, garlic,
and coriander seeds finely. Add lamb, egg, panko, and ground spices
to a bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands so that spices and egg blend
evenly throughout the lamb.
Grab a bite-sized portion of meat
and, with your palms, roll until meatball is round. Heat oil in a large
skillet, then add meatballs. Spread them out so that they do not touch.
Fry for three minutes, or until a nice char starts to develop, then
flip (a teaspoon and a pair of tongs should do the trick). Fry for
3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Serve with Tzatziki (see recipe, below).
Makes 4 dozen meatballs. Tzatziki
1 T olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup peeled cucumber, grated
Grate cucumber into a small bowl.
Add garlic and mix together. In another, larger bowl, combine olive
oil and lemon juice. Fold in yogurt, followed by cucumber-garlic
Chill for 30 minutes.
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